Georgia place-kicker Marshall Morgan fully expected to have a better season as a sophomore than he did as a freshman. But the way it has gone so far has exceeded even what he thought he’d be able to do.
Heading into the ninth game of the season, Morgan has now been recognized twice by the SEC as the special teams player of the week, the latest nod coming on Monday. Also on Monday, he was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award.
Morgan’s latest award came in the wake of his performance in this past Saturday’s 23-20 win over Florida. The 6-3, 200-pound native of Fort Lauderdale was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals — including a 49-yarder that was about as close as it could get to 50 — and hit both of his PATs. He is now the SEC leader in scoring average at (10.2 ppg) and leads the nation at 2.2 field goals per game. He is 13-for-15 on field goal attempts this year, including a career-long 56-yarder. Morgan is also 22-for-22 on PATs.
That’s a far cry better than last season when Morgan when 8-of-14 on field goals and missed on four of 67 point-after attempts.
“I dreamed of it,” Morgan said of his production. “It’s a lot better feeling.”
All this is coming after Morgan was suspended for the season’s first two games. He was arrested in late June for boating under the influence on Lake Sinclair.
Morgan said he was determined not to let his poor off-field judgment affect him on it.
“I’ve been taught my whole life to fight your way through adversity,” he said. “When bad things happen, you’ve just got to be able to forget about everything and just go back out there and do your thing. I tried to get everything behind me as soon as I could. I didn’t want it to dwindle into the season and have it on my mind. So I got the (community service) out of the way and paid my fines and served my suspension. It was terrible, but it got behind me pretty fast.”
Since then, it’s been as though Morgan is making up for lost time. His 56-yarder is tied for longest in the nation this season and, including his 55-yarder, no other kicker in the nation has two of the top-10 kicks.
NOTES: Georgia’s Garrison Smith was named SEC defensive lineman of the week on Monday. The senior from Atlanta had nine tackles, 2.5 sacks, a quarterback hurry and a batted down pass against the Gators. It was the second such award for Smith in his career and first since 2011. … Sophomore tailback Todd Gurley practiced on Monday, two days after racking up 187 yards total offense (100 rushing on 17 carries) and scoring two touchdowns. Gurley was out for four weeks with an ankle injury before playing against Florida and had to leave the game this past Saturday due to nausea. … Absent from Monday’s workout were tight end Arthur Lynch (rib contusion) and wide receiver Chris Conley (ankle), center David Andrews and receiver Michael Bennett on offense, fullback Corey Campbell on special teams and Smith on defense.